ADHD Awareness

ADHD Awareness
Cross Country Education
October 12, 2020 19:49 PM (GMT-04:00)
October is ADHD Awareness Month – the ideal time for teachers and school support professionals to brush up on our knowledge of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Here’s a refresher on how to recognize the signs of possible ADHD, where to find reliable ADHD resources, and how to help your students with ADHD thrive in the classroom and beyond. 


Recognizing ADHD Versus Other Issues in the Classroom

What’s ADHD (and What’s Not) in the Classroom, is a must-read for teachers and school support professionals because it clarifies whether behaviors may be related to ADHD or to other issues like anxiety or trauma. Since ADHD is often one of the first conclusions made when a student struggles with classroom behavior or schoolwork, teachers should be aware of ADHD and other issues and should be ready to refer students for proper evaluation and diagnosis. Visit and bookmark this valuable resource published by The Child Mind Institute, an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. The article covers:
ADHD symptoms 
Inattentive symptoms including:
  • Careless mistakes
  • Distraction
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Problems listening and concentrating
  • Disorganization
  • Failing to finish chores or assignments
  • Losing materials, belongings, and supplies
Hyperactive/impulsive symptoms including:
  • Trouble staying in seat (fidgeting, squirming)
  • Impatience
  • Excessive talking
  • Interrupting        
  • Inappropriate running or climbing
Other issues which may mimic ADHD
Teachers can remember to consider other possible causes of ADHD-associated behaviors such as:
Relative age and developmental level
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble at home
  • Bullying
  • Learning disorder such as dyslexia
  • Gender


ADHD Resources and Strategies for Effective Teaching 

Effective Teacher Resources & Strategies for ADHD, published by XQ Institute, a national organization dedicated to rethinking the high school experience, provides strategies and resources to help teachers foster empathy for kids with ADHD. The article uses statistics, as well as scenarios, to share what it feels like to have ADHD. They also cover stigmas kids with ADHD face like being perceived as defiant, difficult or demanding. They suggest that teachers use the following methods:
Strategies for teaching students with ADHD
  • Foster organization by posting rules and routines
  • List assignments and due dates in the same place on the board each day
  • Have students with ADHD check in before they leave to confirm understanding of due dates
  • Make sure students feel comfortable asking questions about assignments
  • Use a reward system to encourage good behavior
  • Seat kids with ADHD near you and away from doors and windows
  • Pair students with ADHD with a buddy or peer mentor
  • Help kids with ADHD write goals
  • Use sticky notes and to do lists
  • Be specific with feedback
  • Praise for effort
  • Communicate with students and family often
  • Practice empathy and acceptance and be open to adapting your strategies
Teaching Strategies for Students with ADHD: Ideas to Help Every Child Shine, published in ADDitude Magazine, covers strategies to “establish a supportive, structured classroom that will encourage learning, enforce discipline, and boost self-esteem for all students” and includes these teacher tips:
  • Assign work according to the student’s skill level
  • Offer choices
  • Give visual reminders 
  • Increase active class participation 
  • Encourage hands-on learning
  • Give appropriate supervision to ADHD students
  • Ensure students get appropriate school accommodations 
  • Prepare for transitions
  • Allow for movement
  • Focus on the positive
In Teaching Students with ADHD, published on, authors Jeanne Segal, PhD, and Melinda Smith, MA, describe ADHD-related classroom challenges and advise teachers to:
  • Use hand signals or sticky notes to discreetly notify the child of inappropriate behavior
  • Seat kids in rows rather than in a circle
  • Give directions one at a time and repeat as needed
  • Use color coding
  • Create a quiet study area
  • Allow student time to get organized before heading home
  • Use an egg timer, cow bell, or horn to cue lesson times
  • Use eye contact
  • Vary the pace of activities
  • Summarize key points


Additional Resources for Teaching Kids with ADHD

In addition to the articles above, we found these resources to be full of practical tips and tools for teachers:
Enjoy using these resources to help all of your students thrive in the classroom, and thanks for reading!
Find your ideal match in a teaching or school support job with Cross Country Education.

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